Wherever you stand in the great DC Extended Universe debates, we can all agree that Zack Snyder’s Batman V Superman: Dawn Of Justice was a divisive movie. This has given rise to something of a conspiracy theory about ‘Snyder haters,’ and people simply tearing down the filmmaker’s work for their own reasons. The unfortunate situation that arose during post-production of Justice League – with Snyder having to step away, and Joss Whedon stepping in to complete reshoots – has only added fuel to that fire. Now, however, producer Charles Roven has sought to put that debate to rest.
To be clear, Zack Snyder completed production on the film, and had to leave the project during post-production due to a family bereavement. This did not stop rumours of discord between him and Warner Bros. over the direction of the DC franchise, though. Bringing in Joss Whedon – famous for his involvement in the success of the Marvel Cinematic Universe – fit that debate agenda perfectly. However, it’s also clear that Whedon had been involved with the DCEU long before that point, and was simply asked to step up and finish up the film when Snyder was no longer able, due to unforeseen circumstances.
The result of the situation has been unending speculation about the amount of reshot footage that’s included in the final cut of Justice League. The insinuation seems to be that, regardless of the reason for his departure, if it were to transpire that the theatrically released Justice League contains more, rather than less, of Joss Whedon’s work, then this would somehow ‘prove’ that Warner Bros. was unhappy with Snyder’s direction.
The cast have consistently reiterated that the film is Zack Snyder’s, and that Joss Whedon simply wrapped it up, and added a few finishing touches in line with Snyder’s overall vision. That hasn’t exactly halted speculation, though, and now, in conversation with The Washington Times, producer Charles Roven has given an actual numerical value to the reshoots.
“The goal is to make sure when you’re watching the movie, it all feels cohesive. That imprint that Joss had, some aspect of it is going to come out in the direction, but the actors are already pretty much down the road on their arcs. Let’s just say 80, 85 percent of the movie is what was originally shot. There’s only so much you can do with other 15, 20 percent of the movie.”
So, to unpack that comment, if 80-85 percent of the film is “what was originally shot,” then that’s the work of Zack Snyder. Joss Whedon’s contribution then constitutes 15-20 percent of the film and, since Roven points out that the goal is to make it feel “cohesive,” then whatever that 15-20 percent is, it has to fit seamlessly. It has to reflect Zack Snyder’s vision, otherwise it would feel disjointed.
Given that the critical responses to early screenings have generated no accusations of a disjointed feel to the movie, it seems we can safely say that Joss Whedon’s small contribution to the film – while inevitably having some Whedon-flavour – has served the vision of Zack Snyder.
To sum up, if you enjoy Justice League when it opens on November 17th, then – according to Charles Roven and the cast – that’s a Zack Snyder film you’re enjoying.